Two ULFA leaders arrested in Bangladesh

Bangladesh`s elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion arrested two leaders of the banned ULFA from Bhairab in northern Kishorganj in a pre-dawn raid and recovered arms from them.

Updated: Jul 17, 2010, 19:08 PM IST

Dhaka: Bangladesh`s elite anti-crime
Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) Saturday arrested two leaders of the
banned ULFA from Bhairab in northern Kishorganj in a pre-dawn
raid and recovered arms from them.

The two suspects -- Ranjan Chowdhury (45) and Pradip
Marak (55) -- were taken into custody from Lakkhipur area of
Bhairab early this morning, RAB spokesman Lt Commander
Mohammad Sohail said.

He said a sophisticated pistol, a revolver and four
small bombs were recovered from their possession.

Addressing a hurriedly-convened press conference later
in the day, Sohail formally announced the arrests of the two
ULFA operatives. The arrested ULFA leaders also appeared
briefly at the press briefing in handcuffs.

Sohail said the arrests were made based on a secret
tip off that "several Indian trespassers" were staying at
Bhairab for long time.

He said both Chowdhury and Marak were waiting for a
bus to travel to northern Sherpur district when they were
arrested.

During initial interrogation, Ranjan told the RAB
officials that he hailed from Madhusolmari of Gauripur in
Assam`s Dhubri district and that he joined the ULFA in 1988
and obtained three months of "military training", Sohail said.

"The ULFA leader went to Bhutan to meet ULFA`s top
military wing commander Paresh Barua in June 1995 and was
arrested by Indian security forces on his return home in the
next month," he said.

He was detained in Guwahati jail of Assam for a year
and was released in 1996.

The arrest came as Dhaka is believed to have helped in
the arrest of ULFA chief Arbinda Rajkhowa from Bangladesh
territory along with several accomplices and subsequently
handing him over to India.

Dhaka at that time declined the report of his arrest
from Bangladesh and subsequent handing over to India.

Several newspapers had last month reported that
Ranjan, who is often referred as Ranju Chowdhury, but the RAB
had refused to confirm his arrest from the central Mymensingh
district.

Another ULFA stalwart Anup Chetia was arrested from
Dhaka during the past 1996-2001 Awami League regime and is
still in "security custody" despite the expiry of his jail
term for cross border intrusion.

The actions against the ULFA coincide with an ongoing
investigation on an abortive smuggling of 10-truck loads of
weapons believed to be destined to their hideouts in Assam.

Security sources said Chowdhury was arrested soon
after the seizure of the consignment in 2004 but was released
in 24 hours.

The previous military-backed interim government had
ordered a reinvestigation amid allegations that there was a
deliberate attempt on the part of the then BNP-led government
to suppress facts to weaken the case.

PTI